High School / Dec 5, 2013 / 4:45 pm

The 25 Most Hyped High School Basketball Recruits Of All Time

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant (photo. McDonald’s All-American Games)

We all remember the players from high school that were the hyped uncontrollably, right? You know, the ones that were given notoriety few players at any level can match. From nationally televised games to documentaries, some were given the red carpet treatment even before they attended their senior prom. There are the ones who lived up to it and, well, the ones that fall short.

We’ve had plenty more busts than LeBrons. For every Wilt or Kobe, there’s been at least one Telfair or Kwame. Here are 25 of the most hyped high school basketball prospects we’ve ever seen.

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The “Jewish Jordan” is what Sports Illustrated dubbed him as back when he was a global phenom. Averaging 35 points per game, Tamir Goodman was on his way to stardom… or at least that’s what we thought. After being offered a scholarship by Maryland, he had to turn it down due to scheduling and religious conflicts. He later attended Towson, where he didn’t really pan out and later left to play overseas. While Tamir was overseas, he was derailed by numerous injuries.

For 20 years, McMillen held the record for the most high school points scored in the state of Pennsylvania with 3,608 points. While at Mansfield High, he averaged over 35 points a game for his entire high school career, including 47 a game as a senior. That earned him a cover story in Sports Illustrated and a scholarship to Maryland where he would leave as the all-time scoring average leader. McMillen went on to play 12 seasons in the NBA until 1986 but never averaged double-figures.

How can anybody forget the imaginary horns that D-Miles uses to throw up back in the day? Straight out of East St. Louis High School, the 6-9 high school prodigy was an athletic specimen ready to make noise in the league. Drafted in the 2000 NBA Draft after putting on a show in numerous high school all-star games — he was so spectacular that Michael Jordan endorsed the Clippers taking him near the top of the draft — he made the All-Rookie team and slowly made a name for himself before injuries caught up with him. After numerous trades and injuries, Darius never delivered what we were hoping he would as a potential star. Bummer.

Renardo Sidney was once the No. 1 player in his class by far. He had the skills to really take his game to another level and flourish but his erratic behavior got the best of him. In high school, he coasted and didn’t improve the way a kid of his size and skill should’ve. Then once he got to college, Sidney was ruled ineligible for the 2009-2010 seasons due to the NCAA questioning his family’s income. Once Renardo was ruled eligible, he was suspended for a game for an outburst in practice. Then Renardo managed to get nationwide publicity, not for his stats but his brawl with fellow teammate Elgin Bailey in Maui. It seemed everywhere Sidney went trouble followed. There was no telling what could have been if he got his mind right.

New Jersey-bred Derrick Character was definitely a player that had all the potential in the world but couldn’t connect the dots. Character was considered a big deal ever since he stepped foot on the court as a freshman. In fact, he was getting pub in middle school. Unlike most phenonms that don’t live up to the hype, Derrick’s situation was different. It was his attitude and a lack of effort that played a big part in him never reaching full potential, and the seeds of that were planted in high school where by the end of his career he was getting dominated by many of the country’s best power players. Once he got to college, he always seemed to find himself in the doghouse with Rick Pitino, which resulted in him transferring to UTEP. After a career at UTEP, he then decided to head for the NBA but his old ways caught up with him. After that he had stints with the NBDL and overseas but never panned out.

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  • Josh Littin

    Ronnie Fields!

  • Clint Corey

    Billy Owens, Alonzo Mourning, Lloyd Daniels.

  • 2cents

    Holy $hit … no Shawn Kemp?

  • SweetdickWilly

    I wasn’t surprised that Renardo Sidney didn’t make it. I remember reading a story about him in Slam Magazine when he was in high school and his father was control freak who looking to live the life through him ala Joe Jackson. Telling him he’s the shit everyday and controlling the fuck out of him at every turn made Renardo a bust. I can give him a pass for that fight since Elgin did start that shit.

  • Claudio Leoni

    Sherell Ford? And no Ronnie? Really?


    “LeBron changed the whole aspect of the word “phenom” and reconstructed everybody’s ideals on what exactly is an elite high school player.”

    This kind of hyperbole is a disgrace to your profession.

  • Kwaku Danso

    “San Antonio saved him from real heartbreak as the Grizzlies took him just before the end of the first round in the 1998 Draft.”


  • Liam Crane

    Not a bad list. Did you miss anyone? Well, Dwight Howard comes to mind. Just went No. 1 overall straight out of high school and was featured in various national media outlets as the next great NBA center.

    Also, for my money, Sampson is way too low and Kobe too high. Dwight was certainly more hyped than Kobe…he would fit well in your top 6 instead of Kobe.

  • Eekitt

    You’re not old enough, but Calvin Murphy.

  • Richie Kamtchoum

    John Wall? Dwight howard? andrew wiggins?

  • MoneyMont

    I can agree with the list especially since its opinion based the list is solid although Kobe should’ve been listed two he was on the cover of every magazine in 95-96 he took R&B singer Brandy to his High School Prom and having alot of NBA stars at the time including Jordan calling him the next big thing

  • Jody McCulloh

    Chris Webber

  • Pierre Echeverria

    Ralph Sampson wasn’t drafted #1 in 84

  • Matthew Hodgson

    Kind of feel like Felipe Lopez should be in here somewhere. I mean you don’t get the cover of SI (I know I probably shouldn’t mention another magazine) as a high school player for no reason

  • Shawn Noaman

    where’s lenny bias?

  • Smig Robustus

    “Ball Is life”…….yeah , ok……LABOR is life….perfect NIIIIIIGAR…ATTTITUDE…. Keep thinking that’s your way out……..SOMETIMES success is sacrifice..